An applicant for .gay has lost its chance to get exclusive rights to the new gTLD, partly because the self-defined gay community it wants to represent is not “gay” enough.
Dotgay LLC is one of four applicants, and the only “Community” applicant under ICANN rules, for .gay.
But the company yesterday failed in its attempt to pass a Community Priority Evaluation, scoring just 10 out of 16 available points and failing to reach the required 14-point passing threshold.
Most of its points were lost on the “Nexus between Proposed String and Community” criteria, where 4 points were available but Dotgay scored zilch.
The CPE panel concluded that the gay community described in the Dotgay application was too broad to be described by the string “gay”, because it includes lots of people who aren’t gay — such as transgender people or heterosexual campaigners for gay rights.
Under the CPE rules, applicants can score the maximum points if their chosen string “matches” the name of the community. Partial points can be won if it “identifies” the community.
The panel decided that it did neither:
Included in the application’s community definition are transgender and intersex individuals as well as “allies” (understood as heterosexual individuals supportive of the missions of the organizations that comprise the defined community). However, “gay” does not identify these individuals. Transgender people may identify as straight or gay, since gender identity and sexual orientation are not necessarily linked.8 Likewise, intersex individuals are defined by having been born with atypical sexual reproductive anatomy; such individuals are not necessarily “gay”. Finally, allies, given the assumption that they are heterosexual supporters of LGBTQIA issues, are not identified by “gay” at all. Such individuals may be an active part of the .GAY community, even if they are heterosexual, but “gay” nevertheless does not describe these individuals
Because “gay” was not found to identify the applicant-defined community, Dotgay lost 3 points. A knock-on effect was that it lost another 1 point for not “uniquely” identifying the community.
The applicant lost another two points on the “Community Endorsement” criteria — one point for not being backed by an organization recognized as representing all gays and another because the application had received informal objections from at least one significant community member.
The CPE decision means that rival applicants Top Level Design, Rightside and Minds + Machines are back in the game.
The .gay gTLD, assuming there are no successful appeals against the CPE, is now likely headed to auction.